The NGO Report

1st Episcopal District Women's Missionary Society

Francetta Hairston,  NGO LiaisonFirst Episcopal District

1st District NGO Report
NY Conference NGO Report
This year’s 62 Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 62)
at the United Nations was fantastic. The Commission on the Status of Women
is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council
(ESOSOC); it is a global policy making body dedicated exclusively to promoting
gender equality and the empowerment of women.
CSW 62 brought to debate an important topic given the many challenges that
humanity is facing: “Achieving Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Rural
Women and Girls”. The theme was a wonderful opportunity for women’s organizations to unite for a common purpose. Women from all over the world were there to tell “their story” about the inequalities directed toward women who live on farms or in the country.
If we are to achieve Sustainable Development by 2030, we must all recognize the gender gap in work and employment for women living in rural areas. Gender equality won’t just happen. It is everyone’s responsibility to make it happen. We are advancing toward ensuring that “no one is left behind”.
                                                The Session began with the NGO Commission on the Status of Women            
                                                Consultation Day where the voice of the #Me Too Movement was clearly heard.                                                     The voice that says women must stand up and support each other as they speak 
                                                out against sexual harassment and discrimination.  
                                               Consultation Day opened with a key note speaker Ms. Suzani Ngubane, founder of
                                                Rural Women’s Movement, South Africa. She as well as a group of women
                                                panelist stated that concerns of women living in rural areas were human rights,                                                     economics, education, health, and sanitation.  They also spoke about other topics  
                                                such as the impact of climate change on rural women, combating violence against rural and indigenous women and girls, and land and property rights.
Representatives of CEDAW (the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) were in attendance. They addressed the fact that women want the freedom to live their lives free from negatives like gender discrimination, gender based violence, sex trafficking and domestic emotional and physical abuse. Women want to be able to equally reach their potential without employment and pay discrimination and to have equitable access to health care and education.
On March 13 we stood on long lines in the rain to get into the United Nations Building for CSW 62. We wanted to hear and participate in debates and discussion about Achieving Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Rural Women and Girls from various countries around the world.
First, Holy See Mercy International Association presented Preventing human Trafficking Among Rural Women and Girls: Integrating inherent Dignity Into A Human Rights Model. The event’s multi-disciplinary panel addressed aspects relating to the trafficking of rural women, human rights and the denial of human dignity.
During the event, I found most interesting a “me too” story told by a woman named
Melry Lenario who was born and raised in India. She said that she was raped by her
stepfather. She said a person who was respected in the community promised her a
better life. So she left home to go with this person who gave her hope. While with
this person Melry was forced to take drugs and sold into a world of prostitution. She
said in order to eat she had to service at least 2 customers a night. Eventually Melry
was rescued from a life of brutality and servitude by Father Hinds of the Holy See
Mission.  That is one of the many devastating “me too” stories that were told by the
rural women during CSW 62.
The second event that we attended was entitled “Empowering Rural Women: Resilience In Climate Change in Small Islands Developing States. These islands face a range of acute to long-term risks, including extreme weather events such as floods, droughts and cyclones, increased temperatures and rising sea levels. These risks cause damage to the land. Women are impacted economically because they depend on the land to supply items for handcrafts, which are one of their primary resources. Climate Change disproportionately affects the poorest, most marginalized, women and children.
On Monday, March 19, 2018 we had opportunity to host a one hour Worship and Praise Service. Our topic was HERStory In Her Own Voice. Sis. Patricia Bradley, NGO Representative, Sis. Carolyn Clemons, NGO Alternate Representative, and I gave a meditation about the story of Tamar and Juda, scripture reference Genesis 38.
I’d like to take the time to mention some amazing women. They are Rev. Jessica Kendall Ingram/WMS Episcopal Supervisor, Sis. Patricia Nira Smith/WMS President, Sis. Jacqueline Mitchel-Robinson and Sis. Patricia Bradley/Connectional NGO Representatives. I want to thank you for your love and support. I am humbled by the opportunity to serve as the 1st District’s NGO Liaison.

The First Episcopal District WMS NGO